November 25, 2006

Animal IDs will not be mandatory - More of the USDA Shell Game

This news sounds so good if taken at face value, but it is simply not the whole truth. I want to encourage everyone - farmers, homesteaders, hobbyists and, consumers - to read the new plan so that you will not be lulled into a false sense of victory. When studying NAIS you must put each word under the microscope of Washington Bureaucratese to ken the true meaning. Link to the new plan, a pdf.

What the USDA has done is to say that the program will remain "voluntary at the Federal level" while foisting the responsibility onto the States. The States already took the grant monies, so they are going to have to pay up by moving forward with mandatory programs. They're just paying the state agencies to write the rules and implement it for them.

Look at Wisconsin and Indiana, for example. Will they reverse the state's mandatory aspect of NAIS? Will Massachusetts purge the information they illegally procured from other programs, like the Scrapie program? Will Pennsylvania delete the information they obtained about Amish farmers who are against "marking their beasts" on Biblical principles? They can't. There are no opt-out options build into NAIS.

From the Leaf Chronicle in Tennessee:

Beginning New Year's Day, cattle and hay producers can apply for 35 percent cost share assistance, up to $3,500, toward the construction of a new hay storage structure, or an addition to an existing structure. To be eligible, farmers must be Tennessee residents and operate farms or agri-businesses located in the state with at least 10 head of cattle or 50 acres of hay.

Producers with livestock must also register their premises with the National Animal Identification System.
(emphasis mine)

There is a general sense that the New Plan suggests that if you don't volunteer, your animals will be eradicated if disease occurs. Also, if you don't have a premises registration number you will not be able to buy or sell animals (whoops, starting to sound like Mark of the Beast again). Recently a woman on one of the anti-NAIS groups told a story about how her vet told her that he could not test blood samples from her goats because she did not have a premises registration number. So, voluntary all right. Just try to get medical services for your animals if you "choose" not to volunteer. This is counter productive to the scheme.

Even though soon to be ex-Secretary of Agriculture Steve Kerr said back in August that Vermont had taken premises registration off the table, the New NAIS Plan has the URL to online Premises Registration here in Vermont. It is an active page, not something in an archive. More conflicting messages which should give a hint of things to come.

As a reminder, NAIS was crafted by USDA, Inc along with their agribuddies in the National Institute of Animal Agriculture not to protect the National Herd from disease, but to grow the meat export business. I went to the NIAA's ID Expo in Kansas City last August where the take home message was this: they mean to tag and track every livestock animal in this country. Have they had a sudden change of heart? Unless they are no longer greedy for the profits they stand to make with global export of meat and from the sale of RFID tags, scanners, etc., they mean to march on with their plan. They just didn't imagine there would be an outcry of protest from we, the people, as they were crafting their scheme.

No, nothing has changed about the intent of NAIS. They have only changed tactics. We need to remain active in our efforts to stop this draconian program. It will kill small/private farms, homesteaders, hobbyists and horse owning here in Vermont. Can Vermont stand to take that kind of economic hit?

People, farmers and consumers've been hearing about all manner of our Constitutional rights that are being taken away. Now is the time to do something about it. If enough people write and call their representatives in Washington, they are bound to hear us by the sheer numbers.

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